Industry and Education unite to help young people become work ready

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"What we see is a disconnect between the skills that employers need and the skills that young people are being taught at school."

That was the view of Matthew Peek from Barclays who said this in his role as guest speaker during a business breakfast that took place at One Sixth Form College.

He used this 'disconnect' topic as a starting point to a conversation surrounding what businesses want from their future employees.

Around 50 people attended the meeting that was created to get local educators and businesses to work together to help create more 'work ready' employees of the future.

During the event, Mr Peek shared findings from a recent Barclays national research project that had been created alongside Karren Brady, the current vice-chairman of West Ham United Football Club and star of the TV show, The Apprentice.

The project – called LifeSkills – concluded that the seven key skills that employers need from their future workforce are adaptability, communication, creativity, leadership, problem solving, pro-activity and resilience.

Findings also concluded that businesses see leadership as being one of the most important attributes to have as a future employee. Conversely it was discovered that educators put less provenance on leadership as a key skill to be taught at school.

Organiser of this occasion, George Chittock-Nash, said, "We are keen to develop as many links as possible with businesses to make sure our students are as work ready as they can be. Therefore, it was great to create some new links at this breakfast and fascinating to get so many insights into what businesses need from their future employees."

"We wanted to find out what local employers need from the people we teach as some of students choose not to go to university and they need to be aware of the attributes required to get jobs when they leave us," she added.

Dominic Monaghan from the East of England Co-op came along to this event. He said, "It's an interesting topic of conversation. I'd say that from my own experience, communication, having high standards and being able to build relationships are key. In terms of communication, I think young people are fine with emails and phones but often lack confidence when talking to people face to face."

Jordan Holder from the New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership, said, "The idea of creating an event with a focus on what businesses can do to support young people is brilliant.

"When I speak to young people and as a young person myself, I think the two most important aspects to this debate are confidence and community."

Cathy Frost also works for the New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership and has a business in Ipswich called One Love. She said, "It's important to have events like this where industry and education can talk together and work collaboratively so that we can create a better workforce of tomorrow.

"I think communication skills are crucial. We are more connected that we have ever been but less connected with our community – that's why events like today are important.

"Speaking more generally, I'd say to young people, be aspirational and don't limit yourself – everyone has potential."

Joanna Harris works for William Farrell Woodward. She is also a former student at One.
In terms of her time at One, she added, "It stood me in very good stead."

On the business breakfast, she added, "Today was useful. I think that we now live in an era where you don't necessarily have a job for life. Things change – but the skills that you need in business don't change.

"I think attitude is key to all of this and it's all about how you portray yourself. If you are a young person or indeed anyone in business, you have to see it as a constant development process."

This was One's second business breakfast. They are planning their third event in October 2019 – if you would like to receive an invite for the next breakfast, you can email: